Weekday visiting friends

Symptoms of hayfever this morning and I’m thinking that it’s just because I’ve gone back into polluted London. I sat in my car and took a lateral flow test just in case and almost made myself sick rubbing myself in the tonsils. Brave New World. Just one line.

Rebecca and I went to Phat Phuc with Oscar, a tiny human she made during lockdown. We were remembering how it is in a world where you go and visit your friends from time to time. We had a stroll and a catch up and it feels like I’m doing better than usual in London these days, seeing good people and going for walks with them again. Phat Phuc is one of the last vestiges of what I call “old Chelsea”. It’s in the Chelsea Farmer’s Market and it is still trading, unlike most of the eccentric independent shops and cafes that were there in the nineties. Mostly they’ve been priced out by the landlord. At Phat Phuc you get a pho for eight quid. That ain’t cheap for what it is, but I’ll pay it to help keep them open. I’m glad they survived Covid. Plenty of lovely places had the final nail driven this year and variety is the spice of life.

Post pho it was a short hop across town to Richmond for a breakdown of the cricket and a catch up with Tristan and Tanya. Public transport is still so horrible to be on, so I’m glad of Bergman and relative sobriety. It makes these impulsive visitations a little easier to do. We played backgammon and didn’t drink whisky. Just alcohol free beer. Booze is back to being allowed since Willows but I’m trying to make sure it never asserts dominance again in my ways of winding down.

I could drive home afterwards, which is one of the huge advantages of discovering ways to have fun with friends while sober. So many times I used to end up having a restless night on their sofa and waking up heavier than usual. And I usually wake up heavy…

Against all the odds, after all the driving lessons I gave him where I tried to tutor him in the ways of righteousness, Tristan took his driving test last week in Wales and he passed. I wanted to see him just to have a mini celebration of this small miracle. A lot of the lessons we had over the last year I just sat in the car beside him while he repeated maneuvers. But actually when I think of how he was when I first got in the car with him, he picked it up extremely quickly and I hope he finds it as useful as I do. I’ll be off to Cardiff and back tomorrow driving a very strange cargo – an early start and a good eight hours on the road but it’s a meditation for me, even in a white van. I’m trying to get my head down for an early night though and somehow it’s already five to midnight.

Maybe I can add driving lessons to my burgeoning list of things I do in order to keep ticking over financially. It might help pay for the petrol.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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